Once upon a time, this oil was ostracized by experts for the saturated fat present within it. However, coconut oil is regaining its position in health streams due to innumerable benefits that it offers. It is now considered as oil that can be a cure for many conditions, including thyroid problems, heart disease, obesity, and even cancer. But there isn't enough clinical evidence to prove that coconut oil is beneficial in these conditions. And it is still not yet known for sure that coconut oil is better than other forms of fat.
The most important components of coconut oil is saturated fat. Along with this, it has a combination of many other fatty acids. Other types of fatty acids present in this nut include lauric acid and myristic acids. This unusual composition of fatty acids provides the health benefits. A tablespoon of this oil contains approximately 117 calories and 14 grams of fat.
Coconut oil is considered to be better than trans fats and butter. But whether it is better than liquid vegetable oil is unknown. When compared to partially hydrogenated trans fats and animal fats, coconut oil is healthier. Coconut oil does not contain cholesterol, but still contains a high amount of saturated fat. Studies show that the medium-chain fatty acids present in coconut oil are metabolized differently and are converted into ketone bodies that have therapeutic effects on some conditions, like Alzheimer’s.
The medium chain triglycerides present in coconut oil may help to increase the energy expenditure in the body and help to burn more fat in the body. Some of the studies show that adding about 30 grams of medium-chain triglycerides increases the total energy expenditure by 5% and this amounts to about 120 calories per day.
Another health benefit associated with coconut oil is the presence of another fatty acid, lauric acid. Lauric acid and its byproduct monolaurin are found to be helpful in killing pathogens including bacteria, viruses, and fungi. Ability to reduce hunger is yet another interesting feature of coconut oil. Ketone bodies, one of the major metabolic products of fatty acids, helps to reduce appetite. One of the studies show that people who had more of these medium chain fatty acids ate fewer calories at lunch. Some studies also report an improvement in ‘good’ cholesterol levels in blood. This helps to reduce the risk of many cardiovascular diseases.